Fracture - Symptoms, Causes, Prevention, Treatment


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A fracture is a condition of breaking and cracking bones. The bone may fracture several types crosswise, lengthwise, into several pieces from several places. It is due to a change in the structure or shape of a bone. Certain medical conditions may also lead to the fracture of the bone. Medical conditions that weaken the bones include cancer or osteoporosis.


What is Fracture?

A fracture is a condition of breaking and cracking bones. The bone may fracture several types crosswise, lengthwise, into several pieces from several places. It is due to a change in the structure or shape of a bone. Certain medical conditions may also lead to the fracture of the bone. Medical conditions that weaken the bones include cancer or osteoporosis.


What is Fracture? || image

What are the Types of Fracture?

The severity of a fracture is commonly determined by the impact that caused it to break. The intensity of an external force acting on the bone makes them bend or break. If the breaking point of the bone is surpassed, the bone may snap rather than break exhaustively. On the other hand, the bone may shatter if the force is too strong, like in an accident or a bullet. There are different kinds of fractures. The features of a bone fracture can typically help healthcare professionals to categorize it majorly as follows: 

  1. Closed Fracture: A Closed fracture is a simple type of fracture. In this condition, the fragmented bone does not break the skin. It is a condition in which the patient does not have any open wound, and the bone is not exposed. The bones are broken underneath the skin.
  2. Open Fracture: An open fracture is a fracture which has an open wound, and we can see the bone poking through the skin. 
  3. Incomplete Fracture: When a bone breaks partially, then it is known as an incomplete fracture. Incomplete fractures are of the following types:
    1. Torus or Buckle Fracture
    2. Hairline Fracture
    3. Greenstick Fracture
  4. Complete Fracture: A complete fracture occurs when a bone entirely breaks. It's broken up into two or more pieces by being snapped or crushed. Complete fractures occur in a variety of forms, including:
    1. Segmental Fracture
    2. Comminuted Fracture
    3. Single Fracture
    4. Displaced Fracture
    5. Non-Displaced Fracture
    6. Compression Fracture
  5. Partial Fracture: This fracture occurs when a breakage in the bone is incomplete and does not extend to many parts of the organ. 
  6. Stress fracture: A stress fracture occurs when a crack develops in the bone, which becomes difficult to detect with imaging.

What are Signs And Symptoms of Fracture?

The signs and symptoms of the injury can vary based on the age and health of the person and the severity of the injury. Its symptoms include:  

  1. Severe Pain
  2. Haemorrhage
  3. Nausea
  4. Vertigo
  5. Light-headedness
  6. Being unable to lift the weight
  7. Temporary immobility in the injured body part
  8. Grating sensation in the damaged area in the case of an open fracture 

Some signs that can be observed in a patient having a bone fracture are listed below:

  1. Bumps in the affected areas
  2. Bruises
  3. Deformity
  4. Skin discolouration in the vicinity of the affected area
  5. The unusual angle of the swelling in the affected area

What are the Causes and Risk Factors of Fracture?

The fracture can develop when the bone is experiencing greater pressure or force. The sudden force is usually very intense. The force determines the intensity and severity of the fracture.

Some common causes of fracture are:

  1. Physical trauma
  2. Over exercise such as running causes weakening of bones
  3. Certain medical conditions such as cancer
  4. Breaking of bones due to sudden falling
  5. The body strikes directed at the hard object
  6. Accidents or gunshots
  7. Sports injuries
  8. Overuse or repetitive use of muscles can result in stress fractures.
  9. The fracture needs immediate medical care. It is crucial to diagnose the fracture to start the right treatment.

Risk Factors 

  1. People can experience a fracture at any stage of life. But the risk of developing fracture is high when your bones are weak or have low bone density. The risk of brittle bones is when you are
  2. Older in age
  3. Having bone condition osteoporosis
  4. Having endocrine or intestinal disorders
  5. Consumption of corticosteroids
  6. Physical inactivity
  7. Alcohol consumption
  8. Smoking

How can Fracture be Diagnosed?

The fracture can be examined by physical examination, but one or more imaging tests are carried out to get the exact position of the condition. These diagnostic tests are:

  1. X-rays: The procedure includes the beam of X-ray light falling on the affected area. It shows the picture of a broken bone in a film. The most common imaging test to diagnose a fracture.
  2. Bone scan: The fracture that does not show on x-ray films can be diagnosed through bone scans. The procedure may need one or more visits and takes a long time to diagnose a fracture.
  3. CT scan: The procedure creates cross-sections of the bone with the help of computers and X-rays. The diagnosis provides a detailed structure of the bone.
  4. MRI: The procedure creates detailed imaging of the bones with the help of a strong magnetic field. It is useful in the diagnosis of a stress fracture.

What are Non Surgical Options for Treating Fracture?

The primary goal of treatment is to reassemble the broken bone, alleviate pain, allow the bone to heal, avoid complications, and restore activity to the fractured area. The following are some treatments:

  1. Castor brace Immobilization: This immobilizes the wounded location, allowing the bone to heal completely. The bone protects the injured area from motion while it heals.
  2. Medication: It is required for the treatment of pain.
  3. Propulsion: When a constant tugging motion is used to stretch specific body regions in a specified direction, this is known as stretch therapy. Traction is a technique for straightening the muscles and tendons surrounding a broken bone. It facilitates the joining and healing of the bone ends.
  4. Fixation By Surgery: Surgery may be required to realign certain types of fractured bones. Sometimes, internal or external fixation devices are employed to support bone healing.

What are the Benefits of Treating Fractures?

  1. To maintain proper body balance.
  2. To avoid general or local complications like infections 
  3. To restore proper body function 

Updated on : 22 July 2023


Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

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Kirti V

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